The energy audit—an assessment of a home’s energy systems performed by a trained auditor in order to provide the resident with strategies for saving energy and money—is provided by many utility companies throughout the United States for free or at a reduced cost. The uptake of such programs is generally low, and little is known about audit participants. Importantly, as more evidence points to the need to look beyond physical building characteristics to increase energy efficiency, this work explores if specific characteristics of the individual
are correlated with increased participation in audit programs. This research analyzes the most recent (2015) national level Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) data through a binary logit regression to determine what socioeconomic and demographic factors, if any, are statistically significant in linking to the decision to undertake an audit, while controlling for physical building characteristics. The findings indicate that age has a significant and positive relationship with the decision to undertake an audit, as does being non-white, while renting has a significant and negative relationship. Knowledge about national-level participation in audit programs can help policy makers craft more strategic incentives to increase participation and, ultimately, help connect the audit decision to the more important next step of retrofits and upgrades to save energy.
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